Google Pulling Random Dates Into SERPs

Late last night I tweeted out the following, and I wondered if anyone knows the rules by which Google pulls this info from a page:

Seeing some really weird use of dates in google snippets lately. Anyone have insight into the parsing algo being used?

Now, it’s no secret that the GOOG has been using dates in the SERP snippets for some time, in fact it has been mentioned as far back as early 2008 but I’m pretty sure there has been a recent algo change that has made them show up far more consistently. Not sure what I’m talking about? have a look at the image below:

Date appearing in Google snippet

Using a date, in itself is no bad thing and I can think of several good reasons to do so (blogs, news articles etc). The thing that is very strange about this example especially is not only the fact this is a homepage result, but also where in the page content this date has been pulled from:

Date pulled from

This is pulled from my sister Leala‘s website and as you can see, the date in question appears well into the content and there are several dates present in the source long before this one. In fact, the H1 tag contains two specific dates – those being my sisters date of birth and date of passing.

It’s likely that this can be supressed by utilising a full META description (current one is only 135 characters), but that still doesn’t change the fact that the date being pulled into the SERP snippet is highly irrelevant to the overall page content.

3 thoughts on “Google Pulling Random Dates Into SERPs

  1. Callum

    Hi yeah I’m seeing the exact same thing Google is putting the wrong date next to the majority of our pages and I think this may be having a adverse effect on our positions within the serps, because google no longer thinks our content is fresh. Struggling to find anybody on the web talking about this problem.

    Good Post.

  2. Ben Post author

    Hey Callum, thanks for the comment.

    Not only could this be affecting SERP positions (although we haven’t seen much evidence of this yet) it could most certainly be affecting your organic CTR – if a user is looking for some up to date information then an old date in the snippet is very likely going to put them off clicking.

    Certainly something to keep an eye on.

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